"They don't understand ANYBODY that isn't one of their 'gang'! They Don't Understand!"....I Understand, Sarah...I Understand.
October 18, 2010 Subject:
Sara's not totally innocent, but not totally to blame. I'm seeing a vicious circle here; she's stressing about getting good grades and feels she has to work and study harder, so she's so focused on her studies that it's mistaken for snobbish aloofness. But her stress over her grades, and her unhappiness about being thought a snob, causes her to flub tests and cause more stress. And then she ends up resenting the others who get the good grades that she feels should be hers, and she finds it harder and harder to break the cycle of bitterness.
And while some of the problems here are caused by her own bitterness, there's also some that are simple misunderstandings that are escalated by Sara's judgmental peers. She's very prickly and defensive, but how much of that is just her attitude and how much of it is caused by the others getting on her case all the time?
Sarah also seems right about the others; they don't understand and are too absorbed in their own shallowness. She sees through the BS that surrounds her, esp. the others fawning on Bill, and the not-unreasonable suspicion that his election and winning yearbook design are because he's popular. She realizes how fake and phony it all is, but doesn't know how to function in all that, or how to meet it halfway.
It's good for an instructional film, especially for Vera Stough's performance. Sara could be played as a total harridan, but Stough makes her into a troubled, sympathetic, and tragic figure. She has a good heart; she read to Ron when he was sick, and when she realizes she's hurt Bill you see the pain in her face and know she wants to go after him and make things right, until she's jumped on for being a snob and switches on her defenses. I'm sure we've all had experiences like that.
But it is funny to have teens in 1958 dancing to swing music. And to have her urged by mom to go out and have fun. My parents never wanted me to go out and have fun...it was either stay home and study, or stay home and help them do chores around the house. Go out? Have fun? Nah, I had the rest of my life to do that! (And then I was thought a snob because I kept having to decline invitations, because my parents would never allow me to go out....)
June 30, 2010 Subject:
This IS a good one.
It's nice seeing "real" people instead of the usual professional, polished, and perfect-looking actors. It's also a very thought-provoking piece, which I'm sure incited some lively discussion among the students who viewed it back then. I guess the twist is, she's perceived as feeling superior to her peers, but her introversion is entirely because she feels so alienated and out of place.
Excellent music throughout, as well.
April 21, 2009 Subject:
And The Rest Is History....
Mom's, Unhappy In Marriage, Feed Off Daughters From Puberty And Beyond...Starts With Fitting Them With Training Bras To Ogle & Feel Young Breasts That They No Longer Have,... To Inserting First Tampon..To Check Out Daughters Virginity Status....Under The Pretense Of Teaching....It's A Lesbian Yearning....The Husband In All Of This Could Care Less, Since He No Longer Sleeps With Wife Who Put On 175 Pounds Over The Years And Is Now Working In Circus As The Fat Lady....He Goes To Bed With A Magazine....It's A Classic Case In Family Life..Daughter Will Elope With Sword Swallower Who Will Teach Her The Fine Art Of: (You Guessed It!)..Dr. Robert.Phd,R.E.M.
July 18, 2007 Subject:
The problem here isn't Sarah..
It's her control-freak mother, Ron the resentful idiot, and her peers that talk behind her back (all because - gasp! She READS? Studies? Tries to better herself? Oh no!!)
No wonder she's a 'snob'. I wouldn't have anything to do with those people, either!
May 5, 2007 Subject:
Makes you think
I feel that this movie still is very relevant today. It really makes you think... What can Sarah do to make her life easier and happier without compromising herself ? What can others do to help Sarah come out of her shell and feel safe to socialize when she wants to ? There is no bad party here, everybody handled some things poorly. And I think that the parents involved handled this as appropriately as one would wish in this situation, I don't see any control issue at all. In fact, I think it's refreshing to see them involved, worried and able to listen. It also makes you wonder, does Sarah have some traits of a personality disorder ? How has she been burned in the past ? What does she need to let go ? I don't think you should condemn her straight away, nor her peers... I guess this movie helps to look at yourself and others in a different light. And hopefully make better choices on how we handle these relationships.
April 7, 2007 Subject:
sarah ended up
sarah ended up graduating valedictorian of her class and was accepted to Vassar , where she finally met other people who embraced her being a genius..she ended up working in the Peace Corps and marched with Martin Luther King .
Just kidding, but that's why this film is a hoot..Sarah just hasnt found her peer group yet.
She will be better off in Greenwich Village. P.S. the moms have major control issues in this movie.
March 23, 2007 Subject:
not what I thought it'd be
I found this surprisingly thought-provoking and kind of sad. I think personally though it may have been more useful for the film to suggest a solution to the misunderstandings going on instead of just asking a bunch of questions. I thought that was the whole point of mental hygiene films--instruction--but maybe I'm wrong.
March 15, 2007 Subject:
In the early 90s I dated, or tried to date, an intellectual teen exactly like our little snobbish "Pumkin." We got along reasonably well, but she was totally unemotional. I was the only person in school that cared or noticed her, or went out of his way to spend time with her, and she was, as it turned out, uninterested.
She didn't feel the conflict that Sarah does, which was probably added for dramatic effect in the film. Some people can be intelligent, good-looking, hygenic, &c., but just aren't warm to being social. They don't miss or envy it; they simply aren't interested because it isn't their cup of tea. Their libido is completely sublimated.
As to the question posed in the film, how ought we to respond to them? Just let them go. My snob from years ago became a professor at the University of Chicago and is probably still a virgin.
August 25, 2006 Subject:
The Snob is thought provoking
An excellent 1958 production that is well written, directed, and acted. It makes the viewer look pass the exterior of a teenager who does not relate to her peers, and question her inner feelings and motivations. This guidance film still holds up well.
November 19, 2005 Subject:
The Abused Intellectual
Excellent example of a confused society, clearly showing how it attacks and tries to destroy what it doesn't understand. Film depicts brutal attacks on a young intellectual woman who has been singled out as a nonconformist. Even her own parents conspire against her. She suffers the typical abuses from those who cannot understand her constructive attitude and superior IQ. They, on the other hand, can be seen undertaking activities that serve no productive purpose. They go on to demonstrate an obvious inability to do something as simple as select a sandwich. Does the young woman go on to greatly benefit the ignorant masses, perhaps with major breakthroughs in a scientific endevour? Or does the constant persecution and emotional pummeling drive her to a life of despair, making her goal become diabolical revenge as a major corporate embezzeler who opts for a life of crime and apathy? As this film asks, what do you think?
October 29, 2005 Subject:
As fine as Centron gets
Ken Smith considers this one of the greatest "mental hygiene" films ever made. It not only was directed by Herk Harvey, the director of the horror classic "Carnival of Souls," but it also stars the amazingly affecting Vera Stough, the Meryl Streep of Lawrence, KS. Stough (who later went on to act professionally, in Hollywood and elsewhere) stars as Sarah, an academically successful student at her high school who remains quietly contemptuous of her fellow students for not taking life as seriously as she does; the other students scorn her snobbery, while her parents are quietly puzzled by it and attempt gently to get Sarah to change her ways and reach out a bit to her peers. The film has a typical Centron open ending, with Sarah bursting into tears before her schoolmates at a party next door and rushing into the yard when they cannot understand her alienation. This is one of the very few mental hygiene films that is genuinely moving: Harvey and the script combine with Stough's complex performance to make this film memorable in a way few films of this genre genuinely are.
June 7, 2005 Subject:
Young America Gets It Right!
Pretty amazing film featuring realistic teenagers, real looking sets, and realistic dialogue and situations. Sarah is a snob.. or is she? She doesnt have many friends, seems to ignore social functions and sticks her nose out to everyone. Sarah's mom sets her up with the nice boy who has parties at his place every weekend, but even that collapses when she makes a scene after refusing to dance. What is triggering all of this? We don't get an answer, which hinders the film a bit, as the film asks us if there was a way she could like people, and I would find such a question difficult to answer without some more background on her character. Nevertheless, this is one of the best Young America films I've seen here, and it's a MUST SEE on this site!
September 11, 2004 Subject:
Future Cultural Critic?
Perhaps this delightful film should be re-named *Young Susan Sontag*.
June 20, 2004 Subject:
ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂShe thinks sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs better than everybody else!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ (and maybe sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs right)
Here we meet yet another problematic girl of the 1950ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs. Like the chaotic Barbara in ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHabit PatternsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ and promiscuous Ginnie in ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂAre You Popular?ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Sara, the main character in ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂThe Snob,ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ is a girl who just canÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt fit in. The film opens with a shot of Sara through her bedroom window as sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs grimly doing her algebra homework and trying to ignore the loud party thatÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs going on at her classmate RonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs house next door. She angrily gets up and closes the window. This sense Sara of being behind glass is reminiscent of Sylvia PlathÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂThe Bell JarÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ and Sara is a Plath-like characterÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂsensitive and intelligent. Both Sara and RonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs mothers are troubled by SaraÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs withdrawn behavior. RonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs mom gets Ron to invite Sara to his next party by reminding him how she came over to read to him when he had rheumatic fever (in those pre-antibiotic days). Underneath her prickly exterior, SaraÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a caring person. But at high school, sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs snubbed and envied by the girls. ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHer Highness has a new sweater!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ one girl remarks to another, ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂYou have to hand it to Sara, sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs certainly got good taste!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ the other girl replies. ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHear nobody, see nobody, talk to nobody, thatÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs Sara! Snob!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Can we blame Sara for tuning out these snide girls? Later, SaraÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs dad tries to help in a heart-to-heart talk in the kitchen while Sara obsessively dries the dishesÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂAll those people you donÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt like, arenÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt they happier than you are?ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Pretty, intelligent, and potentially popular, SaraÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs willing to be unpopular if it means being true to herself. Sara reluctantly goes to RonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs next party and itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a disaster. She ends up in the back yard crying as the kids look on behind the plate glass windows (more glass symbolism). ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂThe snob,ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ an announcer intones, ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂhurting everyone, herself, her parents, her friends, other people. What makes Sara act the way she does?ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂWhat do you think?ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ A large question mark appears on the screen, even though the answer seems obviousÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂSara needs to get away from her brainless classmates and her well-meaning but clueless parents. Hopefully, her good grades will get her into a college where sheÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂll be accepted and appreciated for who she is.
March 25, 2004 Subject:
Not easy to classify
I find myself drawn to this film again and again. Its theme seems timeless, yet I can't help but wonder if indeed times have not changed for girls like Sara. Certainly, I have met many girls like her, and it would seem that her "type" is not as reviled or misunderstood as it once was. One can't help but feel frustrated, though, as she proceeds to demolish her tenuous relationships at the party. Come ON Sara, lighten up! (Haven't we all witnessed such train wrecks, unfortunately?) I'd love to have heard some of the actual discussions that followed the screening of this film to its intended audience. Were Sara's tormentors viewed as dimly then as we view them now?
I think the young actress is wonderful; does anyone know her name? Does anyone else get just a little creeped out during the father/daughter scene in the kitchen? ("Okay, punkin.") Nothing overtly strange about it; there's some kind of charge in the air, though, that I attribute to the sheer intensity of the girl's performance.